ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - School officials are worried some children may be on a couch instead of in a classroom this fall. Space at several public preschool programs is filling up, meaning the only thing some Charlottesville-Albemarle area children may learn this fall is who's in and who's out."

"The majority of spaces that we still have available are out in the Crozet area,” said Melissa Carter, Head Start director.

Several preschools in Charlottesville and Albemarle County only have a few spots left for some three and four-year-olds. Parents need to act quickly.

"We have a total of enrollment number that we can take of 213 and we are currently at 203,” said Carter.

The remaining spots are for students schools call "at-risk", which is based on income or family situation. One program in the county describes this year as odd.

“It's been an unusual year for enrollment. Some of our sites that typically are slower to fill are filling quicker and some of our sites that are full at this point still have vacancies,” said Carol Fox with the Bright Stars Program.

Schools say families in need should consider all the options to ensure their child can reap the benefits of early education.

“Every child regardless of zip code, economic factors or location it is incredibly important for their development academically but most important as a person for them to grow up as a healthy, balanced educated child we want to make sure we are developing all areas: gross motor, fine motor, plus preacademic skills,” said Sheila Sparks, coordinator of preschool and family support.

The county and city do what they can to ensure as many students get into a class as possible, but delayed applications could mean your family ends up on a waitlist.

"Every year we have a waiting list of students we aren't able to serve and we hope that if they're a three-year-old they will reapply next year and we do coordinate with Charlottesville city and Albemarle to ensure we are helping with as many students as we can sharing our lists,” said Carter.

Preschoolers learn social-emotion skills like how to cooperate, make friends and manage emotions.

For more information, contact:

Bright Stars Program
Carol Fox, Program Coordinator or (434) 972-4010.
Charlottesville City Preschool Program
Sheila Sparks, Program Coordinator
MACAA Head Start Program
Lina Montoya, ERSEA/Data Coordinator or (434) 295-3171 ext. 3008
Albemarle County Child Care Subsidy Program
Glenda Best, Child Care Worker or 434-972-4010
Charlottesville City Child Care Subsidy Program
Kelly Logan, Child Care Worker or (434) 970-3400